DARLINGTON'S amazing revival under Steve Watson and Terry Mitchell continued thanks to a Cameron Salkeld goal against Peterborough Sports.

Quakers have been transformed in the last month, winning seven out of nine games, and have turned a nine-point deficit on Rushall Olympic into a five-point advantage. When Quakers lost to Bishop’s Stortford under Josh Gowling at Christmas, the relegation trapdoor was wide open, but if Quakers win at Rushall on Saturday they will just about have completed their own remarkable version of the great escape.

Their latest victory was by no means their best performance over the last month, but they showed plenty of the character that was missing pre-Watson to find a way to win the game and put them five points above the relegation zone.

“That game wasn’t pretty – it would be last on Match of the Day!” said Watson. “We didn’t play anything like we can from the start until the 75th minute. We made some bad decisions, and we were bad technically.

“But when you’re playing like that, you hope that you can come out with something and the other big hope is that you keep a clean sheet. We not only came out with something, we had a clean sheet and the three points.

"We’ve played a lot better than that and lost games. It was a good way to win. There are lots of ways to win, and that was an ugly win. We’ve come up against physically tough teams before, and not won, so this is another step in the right direction. Cam played in three different positions during the game, and took his goal well.”

Peterborough demonstrated why they have better away form than home this season by being difficult to break down in the first half.  Former Darlington player Kaine Felix should have done better with a header from a left-wing cross early on and Dan Jarvis pulled a left-foot shot wide.

Quakers didn’t create a real chance until the 36th minute when Will Hatfield played Mitch Curry through, but Sports keeper Dale Elsom saved at his feet.

The visitors thought they should have had a penalty when they claimed that Ben Hedley tripped Elicha Ahui as they were running away from goal, but the referee gave a free-kick outside the box even though the Peterborough player appeared to trip himself.

Just on half-time, Cedric Main sent Kallum Griffiths down the right, and his low cross was sliced over his own bar by a defender.

Peterborough went close twice at the start of the second half. Josh McCammon played a one-two but then side-footed wide, and Felix curled a right-foot shot from an acute angle over the bar.

Watson changed tactics on the hour, making two subs and going three at the back and three up front, and in turn that turned the game in Quakers’ favour.

They started to create more chances. Salkeld curled a left-foot shot into the keeper’s hands after Hatfield set him up, and Griffiths drove the ball wide from the edge of the box.

Sports, though, could have taken a lead with a header by Mark Jones that was blocked on the line.

But Quakers kept pressing, and took the lead on 74 minutes.  Matty Cornish crossed from the left, Tom Platt and Main exchanged headers, and Platt nodded the ball down for Salkeld to turn into the bottom corner of the net for his fifth goal in as many games.

They nearly got a second when Platt found Jarrett Rivers on his outside, and he played the ball into the six-yard box where Salkeld just failed to get a touch.

Hatfield missed from ten yards out, and in stoppage time Main broke away, but pulled his effort wide of the far post.

The final whistle meant it was a clean sheet for keeper Matty Young, who is on loan from Sunderland and will miss Quakers’ game at Rushall because he is on England Under-18 duty for three games against Czechia, Germany and Holland in Spain.